A chat with Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo
Today’s the day.
Yeah, the new record is out today.
Has it been a long time coming?
Yeah. But it’s a good day today. It’s finally out there!
Do you get as excited about the album coming out as you do for getting on the road?
I have to admit I’m really excited about this record getting out there and getting feedback from our fans.
When did you finish the record?
About eight months ago.
Was the tracks for the Amalgamut written before September 11th?
Most of them were, two were written after which were “The Missing” and “Where Do We Go From Here”. Some were written a year before that. The music for “The Missing” was written before 9/11 but lyrics were written after that horrible day.
Did the title come before 9/11?
Before. Richie drove from Chicago to L.A. and that is where he came up with Amalgamut. It’s basically this character and the melting pot coming to fruition. It’s basically Filter speak. It’s about unity and diversity. We travel a lot and we get to see a lot more than most Americans do. All the diversity is what adds up to the great thing that is America and that is what the Amalgamut is.
Do fans really like to tell you how Filter’s songs helped them?
Totally. We get people who tell us a certain song changed their life and that is just amazing. Most of what we hear has been positive and that is what its all about. Ultimately we write the music for ourselves, but when fans tell us how much they love it, it means everything. I can remember when I would listen to Led Zepplin II or an entire Beatles record that’s what its all about. It did change the way that I thought and it really taught me something. In that sense its great to have a positive impact.
I remember the same thing with records like the Beatles Sgt. Peppers and even Pearl Jam’s second record where I’d get home with it the day it came out and do nothing but sit in front of the stereo and listen to it like nothing else in the world mattered.
I know, isn’t that awesome?
What’s it like for you to know that kids out there are emulating your guitar riffs?
That is awesome too. I went into the studio and an engineer was like ‘hey how do you play “Take A Picture”?’ and then they play it there way and I’m like ‘well, that’s not it, but its cool’.
I read you went to school for music.
Yeah I went and learned engineering and then got a job at Chicago Wax Trax Recording and hanging out with the guys from Ministry and I was having a good time in the industrial scene. That’s where I met the guys from Chemlab and eventually went out on tour with them. I kind of crossed from just being a guy who is an engineer and then ended up going out on the road. It turned out to be a great thing. That is how I got the Filter thing. I met Brian Liesegang, who used to be in the band (and one of the founding members) and we became friends and he told me he was working on this project and that it was really great song writing with heavier stuff. He said ‘the guy I’m working with needs a road warrior to go out on the road with us’. I heard “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and some other tracks and it was great.
I know you’ve had a hand in some of the recording, but is there a part of you that always wants to be more involved?
Yeah, I always want to be involved. For Short Bus I toured for the record, but I felt disconnected from the music. I actually ended up leaving Filter for about five months and then Rich and I had a talk and I told him that I thought what he was doing was great, but I didn’t want to be a hired gun. I told him I wanted to be a songwriter. Rich could understand that because he left [Nine Inch] Nails to song write and pursue his vision. But he said you don’t just get handed it, the music had to be good. So I wrote a few tracks like “It’s Gonna Kill Me” and it ended up on Title Of Record and its grown from there.
Before learning the process of music were you always experimenting with guitar as a kid?
That and I’ve always been recording since I was in high school. The recording and the writing was all bound together in the same thing. I didn’t just sit there and try to learn guitar, I wanted to learn how to record guitar well. I was learning every riff I could get my hands on.
Did you ever lay guitar in the studio for other artists?
Not in Chicago, mostly just engineering. But right now I’ve been on a few albums like the Curve album.
Is it tough to go on the road today for long periods of time?
The shows are great, but all the traveling can make you weary. I have a family now and it’s harder than ever to be away from home. I have a five-year-old son. If I could do what I do and have him in my life everyday it’d be perfect.
So what do you do on the bus to keep your mind off everything?
Listen to music, but mostly we play games on the Xbox.
What’s your favorite game?
Playstation 2, it’s Medal Of Honor Frontline. You storm the beaches of Normandy. You are in Saving Private Ryan. It’s fantastic.
+ charlie craine